M997.63.435 | They can't have the H bomb. They don't even use our alphabet!
They can't have the H bomb. They don't even use our alphabet!
1966, 20th century
Ink, crayon and newsprint - Collage
22.5 x 32 cm
Gift of Mme Arlette Hudon
© McCord Museum
Keywords: armament (105) , Asia (145) , Atomic war (4) , Cartoon (19139) , China (69) , Diplomatic relations (484) , Drawing (18637) , drawing (18379) , figure (1849) , group (644) , H-bomb (9) , International (540) , International conflicts (608) , International stakes (660) , politics (10928) , Politics (1624) , Quebecer (5)
Keys to History
Through a combination of ignorance and casual condescension, the average Quebecker dismissed the possibility of the Chinese developing an H bomb (hydrogen bomb) with the ridiculous explanation that since they didn't use our alphabet, they couldn't possibly use the letter H.
The prospect of seeing another Communist government with nuclear weapons worried Westerners, adding to their anxiety over the Cold War between the East and the West. This explains why news of Chinese nuclear developments created a stir in the press.
The two men who are chatting over a beer seem to be sitting in a typical 1960s tavern, which was off-limits to women.
This cartoon was published in 1966, when China, an East Asian nation with a huge population, was seeking to become the fifth country to have the hydrogen bomb.
Having split with the Soviet Union, Mao Zedong's China was attempting to assert its importance in the international arena.